GITEX Shopper is here. Bring on the debate about Retail vs Online shopping again!
Reports of the retail apocalypse are all around us. Every week, new headlines proclaim a highly distressed retail industry worldwide. The reality is that winners and losers have emerged. On one hand, disruptions in consumer behavior, technology, competition, and economics have transformed the retail market considerably, and many brands haven’t risen to the challenge.
On the other hand, these disruptions have opened floodgates of opportunity for brands to grow their relationships with shoppers. The continued evolution of technology, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and augmented and virtual reality, generates new opportunities for brands to personalize experiences and transform internal operations.
Today, we find ourselves not in the midst of a retail apocalypse, but a retail renaissance. This renaissance means that brands must rethink consumer experience — and how to invest in it —to thrive.
IN THE MIDST OF A RETAIL APOCALYPSE, BUT INSTEAD, A RETAIL RENAISSANCE.
According to a Deloitte Report, Brick and mortar is predicted to grow by $36 billion
by 2022, and e-commerce is predicted to grow by $50 billion in the same period. There’s reason to be optimistic for both brick & mortar as well as online retailers. However, organizations must understand the major disruptions behind the renaissance before they can address them.
Let’s talk local now.
In the midst of all this e-commerce buzz in the UAE, comes the good ol’ GITEX Shopper. A traditional annual (that was bi-annual previously) retail event that aims to drive customers at the exhibition venue to shop. It cannot get more old school than this.
What works for GITEX Shopper?
Event Date & Location
This year, we haven’t had the Spring GITEX Shopper. And so, the upcoming Autumn edition garners much interest and excitement. First week of the month means that residents who are salaried, which is a larger chunk of the population, will have that spending power. The central venue of the Dubai World Trade Center, which is connected with a Metro Station, ample parking space are all the right moves. Further, instead of having a long drawn eight days event, this will be a compact five day event; guaranteeing purchases from day one.
Tickets, Experience Zones, Prizes
There is a 30% drop in entry ticket this time. There are Experience zones such as Tips & Tricks, Ask the techsperts, Unboxing & a Drone Zone. And apart from all the freebies that you will get when you purchase from the retailers, the organizers also have their own Raffle Prizes.
And the challenges?
E-commerce, of course!
Retailers are likely to have GITEX offers online and that means shopping without visiting the venue and getting the products delivered to your doorstep, or picking up from the nearest store. Flash Deals at the venue? Well, the same can be replicated online too! UAE retailers are slowly but steadily balancing their marketing expenditure to give a sizeable chunk for digital acquisition.
So, who wins the Retail vs Online debate? And what is the future of a retail-only sales event such as GITEX Shopper?
The answer lies in perhaps LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman statement in his blog: “Software will not replace all offline retail, but will be used instead to transform certain offline retail experiences.” This was mentioned as a response to a apocalyptic comment made by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen in an infamous interview back in 2013. He said “Retail guys are going to go out of business and e-commerce will become the place everyone buys. You are not going to have a choice…Software eats retail.”
Five years on, while traditional retail has definitely been rocked by online, 90% of sales still take place in brick and mortar stores. At the same time, some of retail’s most interesting experiments are happening in physical locations, turbo-charged by technology.
A prime example of bits and bytes transforming brick and mortar is the new Nike by Melrose store which opened this summer in Los Angeles.